Revealed earlier this year during a Nintendo Indie World Showcase, OXENFREE II: Lost Signals is the highly-anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed narrative-driven adventure game OXENFREE, from the award-winning independent studio Night School Studio. Set five years after the events of the original, OXENFREE II: Lost Signals features an all-new cast of characters for a supernatural mystery-thriller that will be shaped in unexpected ways by the choices the player makes. The story centers around Riley Poverly, an environmental researcher who returns to her hometown Camena to investigate mysterious radio frequency signals which are causing disturbances in electronic equipment throughout the small town. She soon discovers a long history of ghostly happenings on the nearby Edwards Island and becomes entangled in a frightening, supernatural mystery. We had the opportunity to see a sneak peek and see some of the new elements coming into the game.
The footage we saw followed Riley and her friend Jacob as they were on a mission to figure out where these mysterious signals are coming from in Camena. As she and Jacob travel, they hear a message over a walkie-talkie. The walkie-talkie is one of the biggest new additions to OXENFREE II: Lost Signals. Over the course of the game, Riley will interact with a lot of different characters. The player can choose to interact with them or not. If they do, new side quests can be discovered.
For instance, in the demo, Riley and Jacob hear someone over the radio and he needs help looking for a backpack. The player can choose to help this person or not. In the demo, Riley and Jacob do some exploring and find what this man was looking for. He thanked them and he became someone that the player can call. Being a narrative-driven game, the player can choose to not interact with this person and he will no longer be a part of the story.
Another big addition to the game are time rifts. Portals that Riley can open that will put her and in this case Jacob in the same location at a different time. After helping the man over the walkie-talkie, Riley and Jacob come across a mine that they can’t traverse because it has been caved in. So, they use the time rift to traverse the mine safely. They utilize a elevator to help get out of the mine and through another rift. As Riley makes her way up, the mine starts to collapse. She gets on the elevator and makes a jump to where Jacob and the Rift are before the screen cuts to black.
The biggest takeaway that I took from what I saw of OXENFREE II: Lost Signals and what the developers talked about was how everything is a bit bigger this time around. Even though that’s what usually happens in a sequel, I took it as doubling down and going further with what OXENFREE’s formula is.
Camena is a big location with a map that has a lot of locations that players can explore if they choose to. Choices are also bigger. Some decisions can lead to new characters, new dialogue, and opportunities to further the narrative and others don’t. The signature naturalistic dialogue system gets a bit of an upgrade too. One new addition to the game are one-word stories that you can create with other characters. Depending on the choices you make, each story is unique, different, and yours, the typical narrative-driven adventure game experience. What happens in the game and to the characters are dependent on what choices you make.